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Du Plessis century puts South Africa ahead, Sri Lanka toils – cricket

Faf du Plessis made a century in his first test since giving up the captaincy to take South Africa into the lead on Day 3 of the series opener against Sri Lanka on Monday. Du Plessis was 112 not out at lunch and South Africa 435-5 to overtake Sri Lanka’s first innings of 396 all out. South Africa’s first-innings lead of 39 might grow into a match-winning one considering how much time was left in the test.

Freed from the pressure of being captain, du Plessis made his first test hundred in two years and 10th of his career, and turned the game around for the Proteas after they wobbled at 220-4 at one stage on the second day.

Du Plessis was aided by Temba Bavuma, who made 71 in the pair’s partnership of 179. South Africa began the day on 317-4 but surged ahead in the morning session with du Plessis and Bavuma in charge.

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Bavuma was the only wicket of the session for a Sri Lankan bowling attack that was starting to toil at SuperSport Park in Centurion having lost two players to injury.

Offspinner Dhananjaya de Silva and pace bowler Kasun Rajitha both picked up injuries earlier in the test and had to leave the field, leaving the Sri Lankans depleted as they try to limit South Africa’s advantage.

Bavuma was out caught behind off allrounder Dasun Shanaka, who has been Sri Lanka’s most impressive player after making 66 not out with the bat and then taking on added bowling responsibilities because of the absence of de Silva and Rajitha. Shanaka had 2-80.

The 36-year-old du Plessis struck 16 fours and celebrated three figures by raising both arms in the air and unleashing a beaming smile in the direction of his teammates sitting outside the dressing room.

He resigned as captain at the start of the year and after South Africa’s last series, a loss at home to England.

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